Our guest this week is Nate Williams, founder and managing partner at Union Labs VC. He’s on the show to answer my questions about the current fundraising environment for startups. We talk about what it takes to raise an early round of funding, and why venture capital firms are reluctant to invest in new companies while they try to figure out what their existing investments need. He also mentions that Union Labs is raising a second fund, and discusses what areas he’s excited about. We then discuss the hype around generative AI and what he’s looking for in AI investments. We end with our thinking about the current state of smart home investments. Enjoy the show.
Our guest this week is Karen Lightman, the executive director of the Metro21 Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. She’s on the show to talk about the passage of the $1.2 billion infrastructure bill by Congress. We talk about the impact this will have on smart cities and specific policy recommendations to ensure we get wide-reaching equitable broadband access. Because you can’t have a smart city or even the internet of things without the internet. She also shares a bit about the backlash that the smart cities movement experiences as citizens grew concerned about their privacy and the rise of surveillance states, and talks about her hopes that companies will do more to build that trust. Myself, I think that’s going to take government action, but we’ll see. Enjoy the show.
We dove into the deep end of wearables this week discussing the dresses at this year’s Met Gala, where Kevin shared that Clare Danes’ princess fantasy gown took 30 battery packs to operate. It’s not all celebrity this week as Kevin and I dove into several devices that unfortunately didn’t all quite work as we expected. I reviewed the Pebblebee Stone, a bluetooth tracker and programmable button that was supposed to connect to If This Then That, but didn’t. Kevin talked about connecting his OnHub router to If This Then That, but also had some troubles. And once again we shared news of SmartThing’s troubles–this time with a security vulnerability. We ended with Microsoft’s acquisition of Solair and Oracle’s acquisition of Opower.
Then for the open source, DIY smart home junkies out there, I brought Kai Kreuzer, the founder of OpenHAB onto the show. He discussed the projects ambitions–let people connect all their stuff without worrying about handing over control to a vendor–and how he might commercialize the project. The conversation exposed how tough it is to get the ideals of the open source community to mesh with the reality of trying to connect your home, especially when it comes to open source security and keeping your home safe amongst all the integration. Make sure to listen up.
Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guests: Kai Kreuzer of OpenHAB
You must match your LEDs to your dress
Some bumps in the road for IFTTT, OnHub and the Pebblebee Stone
Rick Osterloh returns to Google and Kevin and I disagree
Want to build your own home hub?
Ease of use means totally different things to me and to Kai